Greenwell State Park

Greenwell State Park map

The Essentials

Put-In: easy, full accessible pier with launch site

Distance: option #1 – 4 miles roundtrip, option #2 – 8 miles roundtrip
Water Type: flat creeks, large river
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Cautions: powerboat traffic at creek mouths, possible wind on open river water

Overview:
Greenwell State Park is located on the southern shore of the Patuxent River, in Hollywood, Maryland. Once part of historic Resurrection Manor, Greenwell State Park was developed to provide outdoor recreational opportunities for people with disabilities, as well as the general public. The Greenwell Foundation manages the park, maintains numerous hiking trails, picnic areas, and coordinates activities. This park offers swimming, paddling, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, trail biking, and hunting activities. A retreat lodge is available for rent, with sleeping accommodations for up to 17 people. Of interest to paddlers, Greenwell State Park offers unique access to undeveloped shorelines of the Patuxent River via Quarter Creek.

Directions to Greenwell State Park:
From Lexington Park, Maryland
– north on MD Rt. 235
– turn right at the junction of MD Rt. 235 and Rt. 245 (Sotterley Rd)
– turn right at the junction of Rt. 245 & Steer Horn Neck Rd (2.3 miles)
– turn left onto Rosedale Manor Lane (1.1 miles)

To reach the put-in/take-out area on Quarter Creek :
– turn left on first dirt road (0.1 miles)
– park in picnic area (0.5 miles)

About Quarter Creek put-in-take-out
Location:
Quarter Creek put-in/take-out is approximately 100 yards west of the picnic area parking, down a moderate grade dirt/grass road. Space is limited at the bottom of the road. There is a handicap accessible boat launch and pier on Quarter Creek. Park at the Picnic Pavillion. You will need to cart/carry your boat a short distance down a dirt lane. Those seeking special parking nees for the handicapped may inquire at the Administrative Offices for further information.

Quarter Creek is a shallow creek, whose depth varies with tidal flows. The creek’s main channel is deep enough to permit launching in all tidal flows. There is ample parking in the Quarter Creek Pavilion Picnic Area. The launch site is down an inclined path to the creek. Handicapped paddlers can request a permit for the Greenwell Foundation to drive down to Quarter Creek to unload kayaks or canoes if road conditions permit. No vehicles can be parked in this critical area.

Trip Options:

Two paddle trips are described below: Northwest to Hog and Sotterley Creeks and Southeast to Half Pone Point. Also, adventuresome paddlers might cross the Patuxent River to explore the northern shores of the River.

NOTE: The Patuxent can be busy during the summer months, but most traffic is found in the main channel, except for occasional crabbers who might be working trotlines at the mouths of creeks. All the creeks in this narrative can be navigated in low tide conditions in kayaks and canoes. The shorelines for both Quarter and Hog Neck Creeks are not bulk headed, but debris from recent storms and steep banks limit the number of spots to come ashore. Always check weather forecasts if planning a paddle over large bodies of water.
Option #1: Northwest Route to Hog Neck & Sotterley Creeks.

Distance to Hog Neck and Sotterley Creeks: less than 4 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Exploring creeks on the western shore of the Patuxent north of Quarter Creek takes you into pristine tidal environments with no development other than an odd duck blind or a dock. One can encounter a variety of wildlife from bald eagles to little green herons and sundry aquatic life. These creeks are excellent for perch fishing in high summer. One rarely encounters powerboats or jet skis in either creek.

Directions:
The launch site is shallow with primarily a mud creek bottom. Leaving Quarter Creek at any tide level is not a problem. Bear left at the Patuxent River and paddle up the coastline to Hog Neck Creek. This creek forks into two main branches. Bear to the right and explore the marsh at the head of the Creek. During high tides you can push way into the marsh. The left branch of Hog Neck Creek is well worth exploring: lots of hardwood trees shade the creek – a favorite haunt of herons and other shore birds.

Leaving Hog Neck Creek, bear left at the Patuxent and paddle up the coastline to Sotterley Creek. This creek is outside the boundaries of Greenwell State Park, and is part of the Sotterley Mansion Historic site and its shorelines are undeveloped. One can see Sotterley Mansion from the creek when the trees are without leaves. This creek also has an interesting shoreline worth cruising and occasional sightings of wildlife make the trip enjoyable.

Extend the trip to St. Thomas Creek.

Distance: approximately 4 additional miles to the end of St. Thomas Creek

Leaving Sotterley Creek, bear left at the Patuxent River and paddle up the coastline past Sotterley Point to St. Thomas Creek. This is a much larger creek with many side creeks and an interesting marsh at its terminal. The shoreline is developed and landing on private property is always an issue. If you are interested in an array of architectural design interspersed in a serene creek, this is a creek to visit. There is minimal boat traffic.

Option # 2: Southeast Route towards Half Pone Point:

NOTE: The entrance to Mill and Cuckold Creeks at Half Pone Point can be especially busy during the powerboat season.

Distance to Half Pone Point: approximately 8 miles roundtrip from Quarter Creek

Highlights: Exploring the western shore of the Patuxent south of Quarter Creek takes paddlers along the shoreline of Greenwell State Park, past the fishing pier and the high bluffs on which Rosedale Manor is situated, and past a quiet cove where people often picnic and swim. This shoreline is a popular fishing spot in the summer. Beyond the boundaries of the Park, one encounters typical waterfront development.

Directions:
Leaving Quarter Creek bear right at the Patuxent River and paddle down the coastline toward Half Pone Point. As you enter the Patuxent River, Solomon’s Island and Thomas Johnson Bridge are visible on the eastern horizon.

Extend the trip to either Mill or Cuckold Creeks.
There is a primitive public landing at the end of Clark’s Landing Road, where Mill and Cuckold Creeks meet the Patuxent River. Near the terminal of Cuckold Creek is another public landing, Forest Landing. For the truly adventuresome paddlers putting in at Forest Landing and traveling to quarter Creek would involve a 12 mile trip. There are several marinas and restaurants in this area worth exploring. Both Mill and Cuckold Creeks are fully developed and shorelines are often bulkhead. During boating season you will encounter significant powerboat traffic at the confluence of the Mill Creek and the Patuxent River.

Extend the trip to Myrtle Point. Add up to 3 miles to your trip.

Continue south and east, passing the confluence of the Mill Creek and the Patuxent River to Myrtle Point Recreational Area. This large publicly owned peninsula is undeveloped and is well worth exploring. The shoreline on the Patuxent River side of Myrtle Point has significant damage from recent storms; downed trees and crumbled banks. However, there are plenty of places to pull up on the beach to walk or stretch. On the way to Thomas Point, there is a small marsh worth exploring after landing on the sandy beach. Or, at the confluence of the Mill Creek and the Patuxent River, paddle left into Mill Creek and explore the Mill Creek’s side of Myrtle Point. Several marshes line the coast on the way to Sam Abell Cove. This shoreline is undeveloped and landing can be awkward.